North Summit High School is in the spotlight for the coolest act of kindness for their student Hailee Blonquist. It was that cool standard issue moment when a high schooler gets their yearbook and goes straight to their picture, but what Hailee finds is much more interesting. For the past two years Hailee’s service dog, Katie, would stand by her side. Not only is Katie well loved by her master but the cool dog has found a place in the heart of North Summit High School.
"I thought they might stick a picture of her somewhere in the yearbook, but to see her right next to me as ‘Katie Blonquist’ was pretty cool," Hailee, 17, a junior at North Summit High School, tells PEOPLE. "Everyone loves Katie. She’s always been by my side."
In 2014 Hailee was diagnosed with type one diabetes. She would be in the hospital a lot due to the drastic highs or lows in her blood sugar. A friend told Destiny and Axcil, the parents of Hailee, about a place in Salt Lake City that could help Hailee. This place would train dogs to recognize and alert their owners to drastic changes in their glucose levels. After some skeptical thinking, her parents decided to get her a puppy and see what would happen.
"For the first year after she was diagnosed, it was a rough go," says her mother, Destinie Blonquist, an elementary school technology teacher. "She would have everything from seizures to passing out for 20 minutes to more than two hours. It was a scary time."
When a friend told Destinie and her husband, Axcil, that there was an organization in Salt Lake City - Tattletale Scent Dogs - that trained dogs to "alert" diabetic owners to high and low glucose levels, she was skeptical at first. But she decided to get Hailee a puppy and see what happened.
"Incredibly, since we received Katie, Hailee hasn’t had any more scary episodes," Destinie tells PEOPLE. "She lets Hailee know when she needs to check her blood sugar, and she’s enabled her to maintain her numbers evenly. She’s given us all peace of mind. She’s part of the family."
When Katie senses concern with Hailee’s blood sugar will take immediate action to save her life. If they are at home Katie will fetch a juice box to help normalize the blood sugar or will put her paw on someone's left hand as an indicator for someone to take action.
This service dog is a friend to all. She is willing to do everything from clean up French fries at lunch to save a life all in a day’s work. Hailee will be a senior at the start of the next school year and is already planning her graduation. She wants Katie to have a senior quote and wear a cap and gown. After all, she has been there for much of the high school experience.
"Since it will be my senior year, I want her to wear a cap and gown and have a senior quote," she tells PEOPLE. "Something like, ‘Hey, do you want F-O-O-D?’ Katie’s one smart dog. When you spell something out, she definitely understands it."
This gives you that heartwarming feeling to make your day better. It's a sign that humanity hasn't been lost among all the wretched things we see in the news. North Summit faculty should definitely treat this dog like an honorary graduate.
When was the last time you saw a dog graduate from high school?
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